When you think of Journey, Pink Floyd, Toto, or The Beatles, a symphony orchestra probably doesn’t come to mind. But that’s exactly what happens at Kennedy High School.

Each spring, the Kennedy Symphony Orchestra electrifies its strings and presents a Symphonic Rock Concert. This annual event was first started back in 2006 by John Hall. Over the years, the concert has grown into a large musical production, now involving a guest conductor, lighting effects, fog machines, vocalists, electric guitars, and professional sound and video companies.

Ninety-seven students participated in this year’s production, performing 13 classical rock songs from The Beatles, Journey, Styx, Pink Floyd, Ozzy Osbourne, White Stripes, Toto, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

John Hall is retiring from his position at Kennedy at the end of the school year. Joseph Mnayer, currently the McKinley STEAM Academy orchestra director, has already been named as his replacement for the next school year. But don’t worry, Mr. Mnayer already said he plans to keep the Symphony Rock Concert going.

“The Symphonic Rock Concert is a staple in the Cedar Rapids community and one that will continue as I take the reins at Kennedy High School. Symphonic Rock includes people of all ages and backgrounds. It brings us all together to rock! I am thrilled to be coming to the program, and hope to continue to bring the Kennedy community awesome orchestra experiences,” adds Mr. Mnayer.